It's less than two weeks before Christmas, and I am feeling no stress.
Why? I'm sending no Christmas cards. I have done no decorating aside from hanging a fresh pine wreath on the front door (I bought it as part of a fundraiser for a local animal rescue group). I am not putting up a Christmas tree despite having some lovely ornaments collected over the years. I have done almost no shopping (I made a quick trip to one store and got a couple of things for my daughter), and I plan to do a bare minimum of baking, and only because I really like the cookies and this is the only time of year I make them.
I have started to work my way through my collection of 40 to 50 CDs of Christmas music, but that's it as far as 'celebrating' the holiday goes.
It's actually very liberating not to be caught up in the traditional holiday madness. I'm not wracking my brain trying to think of something to mail to relatives I seldom see and who don't really need anything. I haven't sent cards since 2013, and I haven't heard that anybody missed receiving a card from me. Since I am retired, I have nowhere to take extra fudge (my recipe makes 3 pounds) and cookies, and I'm not supposed to eat a lot of sweets. I don't enjoy going to the mall any time of year, and I particularly avoid it during the holiday madness.
Sure, I still wish people a Merry Christmas, and I enjoy listening to my CDs. But I much prefer avoiding the pushing crowds, the long lines at the post office and the stress of trying to figure out what to mail to people I seldom see. I do enjoy buying things for people when I have an inspired idea or see something I think they would like. But I hate feeling obligated to buy something for somebody just because they bought something for me or because we 'always' send things to each other.
I have donated several bags of food to the local food bank, I volunteered my photography skills to a local animal rescue group, and my daughter is coming over this week to make cookies for her salon's cookie exchange. We plan to go to Santa Fe together and next week, we plan to go together to the annual Festival of Lights. I am looking at the snow-dusted mountains from my window. And I am in the process of adopting a new dog who needs love and stability in his life.
That is how I am celebrating Christmas this year.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!